We're far enough in to the season to see some mild separation but it's still so early that this could change quickly. But here goes:
|Saturday's ACC Action|
|Chicago State @ Notre Dame||2:00||ESPN3|
|Rutgers vs. Virginia||9:30||NBCSN|
Solid: Duke, Virginia, Louisville, UNC and Miami.
Better than average: Syracuse, Notre Dame.
Jury's out but doing well so far: State, Georgia Tech
Underperforming to date: Clemson, Pitt, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Boston College.
There's a very long way to go and a lot of qualifiers. For instance, at Wake, BC and Virginia Tech, new guys are putting their stamp on the program. That can take a while and fans should be patient. There will, inevitably, be stumbles.
Wake had one Friday as Delaware State stung the Deacs - at home no less.
What we'd like to know is what's going on with Devin Thomas. He's a guy who should be a real force, but in the last few games he has not been.
In the first four games, Thomas averaged 17.25 points and 13.2 rebounds.
Since? 4.3 and 6.3. And these aren't rugged opponents: against Nicholls State, he took just four shots. Against Mount St. Mary's just two. And against Delaware State he missed all seven attempts.
After the Nicholls State game coach Danny Manning wouldn't allow the media to talk to Thomas. Against Mount St. Mary's he changed the starting lineup and benched Thomas.
In those two games he played just 31 minutes.
Obviously he was a key for Delaware State and received a lot of attention. But that's usually the case - he's Wake's best player.
Next week, Wake faces Minnesota in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. That's not going to be easy.
UNC bounced back well against Florida, but as detailed yesterday, the Gators are missing a bunch of players.
The Tar Heels went up 20-4 and while Florida rallied, it was a thorough whipping. Afterwards, Florida coach Billy Donovan said "Right now, the truth is slammed in our face, which I think is great. A lot of times in your non-conference scheduling, when you don't play against high-level competition it's hard to get to a truth."
Former Blue Devil Alex Murphy will be eligible soon; he should get a lot of minutes.
Like a lot of ACC teams, State has a nice record with some close games. Winning close games is good, but relative: close against Georgetown is different than close against Boise State.
Mark Gottfried called it a "quirky" game:
"My first thought is we beat a well-coached, well-disciplined, veteran team that has great poise. I think they’re a really good team. It was kind of a quirky game. Their post players step away from the basket and make 3s.
"We executed late in the game when we had to and got good shots. It was like a chess match, and I thought our guys did a good job fighting through all that. It ended up being a good win for us."
State started Beejay Anya, Lennard Freeman, Anthony Barber, Ralston Turner and Trevor Lacey.
Lacey turned out to be the critical guy;
Miami won again, defeating former Clemson coach Cliff Ellis's old school, South Alabama, 87-75. And the 'Canes started off with a 23-0 lead before the Jaguars scratched.
Last year Miami was the gang that couldn't shoot straight. This year, the 'Canes are averaging better than 75 ppg and being ranked is scaring at least one opponent. USA coach Matthew Graves: "Guys were nervous. They were a little bit anxious playing a ranked team for the first time. They kind of got overwhelmed by the moment."
Georgia Tech is 4-1. Other than a 20 point win over Alabama A&M, the Yellow Jackets are cutting it close: seven points over Georgia, nine over IPFW and now seven to get past Rider.
The lone loss was to Marquette of course; Wojo's team went on to play Michigan State in the Orlando Classic, losing by a respectable 11.
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The Charles Mitchell/DeMarco Cox frontcourt is doing well: in this game, Cox had 10 points and eight boards, while Mitchell had 15 and 12.
Mitchell is averaging 11.3 and 8.8, while Cox is getting the same points as Mitchell and 6.5 rpg.
Clemson cut it close again vs. High Point, winning by just three, 62-59, thanks to a late block by Jarrod Blossomgame.
Bad news for the Tigers: Rod Hall injured an ankle. No word on how bad it is.
Blossomgame had 14 points and 13 boards; Landry Nnoko added 10 pointa and 13 of his own rebounds.
FSU beat Charleston Southern, which really, the Seminoles should.
FSU held the Buccaneers to 29.6 from the floor but its own offense was ragged.
The 'Noles shot just 37.2% and hit just 2-16 from three point range.
Freshman Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who has the potential to be a breakout star for Leonard Hamilton, had six turnovers.
Like a number of ACC teams, Virginia cut it close Saturday, beating LaSalle by just eight, 64-56.
Virginia moves to 6-0 for the first time in nearly a decade.
Malcolm Brogdon had 20, while Anthony Gill had 16 points and 10 boards.
Shocker: London Perrantes had four turnovers, more than he had in the first four games combined.
Under the radar: although he didn't shoot well in this game, just 4-11 and 0-2 from three point range, Justin Anderson's shooting overall has improved dramatically: for the season, he's shooting 59.6% overall and 68.2% from three point range.
When you add that to his remarkable athleticism, that makes him a very dangerous opponent.
Toss in Brogdon and that's as good a pair of scorers as you're likely to find.
And Syracuse is still trying to find itself after losing Tyler Ennis, CJ Fair and Jerami Grant. That's compounded somewhat by an injury to Tyler Roberson (apparently a muscle strain) and Michael Gbinije's poor play.
Coach Jim Boeheim: We're young. We've got guys who are trying to figure out how to play the game. We got Mike, a fourth-year player. He went into the trap and threw the ball away twice. I mean, we can't have him doing those things. He can't play like that. We need him to play better."
Someone needs to: Syracuse goes to Michigan in a few days to take on the Wolverines in the Challenge.